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The area that is now called Glen Oaks was a slice of flat terrain eagerly sought by farmers in the 1640’s. It was a rural, unnamed section of Flushing, part of a 20,000 acre land grant to Massachusetts settlers and at one time the home of many potato fields in eastern Queens. 167 acres purchased from William K. Vanderbilt’s country estate became the Glen Oaks Golf Club in 1923. In 1944, the Gross-Morton Co. purchased 175 acres of land west of the golf club. Backed by $24 million in Federal Housing Administration funds, the neighborhood was developed after World War II, with shopping along Union Turnpike. The model community of Glen Oaks Village, named after the golf club, is a garden apartment complex of 2,864 units near the Nassau border. Construction of the two-story brick buildings began in 1945, and the first residents, many of them veterans, arrived in October 1947. Census figures show that the population increased from 4,999 in 1940 to 13,746 in 1950. The development is one of the city’s largest and is home to almost 3,000 families. Numerous one-family houses also built after the war comprise the area south of Union Turnpike.
The Library’s bookmobile began regular stops at the new neighborhood at the same time; in February 1950 an “extension agency” opened in the Glen Oaks shopping center at 256-25 Union Turnpike. A site at 256th street and Union Turnpike was earmarked by NYC for a new library in 1955. A private builder bought it before City budget officials approved purchase of the site. The City then rented the proposed medical building built on the site. On October 22, 1956, the Glen Oaks branch library was dedicated with speeches by Mayor Wagner, Assemblyman Wallach and Library Director Tucker. In 1975 a $60,000 renovation provided new lights, new flooring and a ramp for the handicapped. A $50,000 grant from State Senator Frank Padavan in 2001 allowed the library to upgrade the facility, including the purchase of some new shelving and furniture.
In the fall of 2009 this building was demolished and a new 18,000 square foot library was constructed on the same site.